There are several factors that put Breakfast At Tiffany’s in my all time favorite movies’ list:
The pretty Givenchy Black Dress
The opening scene
Two of my favorite forms of art meet here- Fashion & Cinema. They not just meet, it’s as if they make love here, in slow romantic lingering style. All these years, all these movies, I’ve never seen a scene more beautiful than this.
In 2010, celebrating the 50 Years of Breakfast At Tiffinay’s, Sarah Gristwood of ‘Telegraph’, mentioned a very interesting anecdote about this scene:
In the movie-making business, it’s highly unusual that the first hour of the first day of shooting becomes the first scene of the film. But that’s how it happened on Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
The script called for early-morning solitude: ‘A moment of limbo as the street lamps fade in the face of the purple onrush of dawn.’ Solitude is rare in New York City at any hour of the day, but at 5am on Sunday October 2 1960, as the cab sped up Fifth Avenue, there was one brief moment when, the director Blake Edwards recalls, every car and every person seemed to melt away.
‘It was as if God said, “I’m going to give you a break now, but for the rest of your career you’re going to have to live off this one.”’
The cab door opens. A girl gets out and goes over to gaze into the window of Tiffany’s. This scene, of course, was to go down in movie history. We have just had our first glimpse of Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly.
It’s better than the book
Am a purist, so if I am saying that I liked the movie better than the book, a Truman Capote book, imagine how awesome the movie must be. The book was really rather bitter. However, this is not the reason why. I like Holly Golightly in the movie better. In the book, Holly Golightly was real – a tough character. She had something about her – unfinished. In the movie, Audrey seems complete. She thinks she’s tough & yet there’s a fae like quality about her, that you want to take care of her. She’s so endearing, a figment of fiction in the most unadulterated form.
The moon river
“Moon River, wider than a mile,
I’m crossing you in style some day.
Oh, dream maker, you heart breaker,
wherever you’re going I’m going your way.
Two drifters off to see the world.
There’s such a lot of world to see.
We’re after the same rainbow’s end–
waiting ’round the bend,
my huckleberry friend,
Moon River and me.”
Hepburn’s favorite outfit in her personal life was jeans and a polo shirt or turtleneck sweater, the very thing Holly wears when she croons Moon River. Not the Givenchy dress, pearls & up-done hair. It’s like she’s dropping a cloak & revealing ‘the real me’.
MY TOP 12 FAVORITE QUOTES FROM BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S
12. “It should take you exactly four seconds to cross from here to that door. I’ll give you two.”
11. “I’ll tell you one thing, Fred, darling… I’d marry you for your money in a minute.
10. “You know those days when you get the mean reds?” “The mean reds, you mean like the blues?” “No. The blues are because you’re getting fat and maybe it’s been raining too long; you’re just sad, that’s all. The mean reds are horrible. Suddenly you’re afraid and you don’t know what you’re afraid of. Do you ever get that feeling?”
9. “I’ll never get used to anything. Anybody that does, they might as well be dead.”
8. “Anyone who ever gave you confidence, you owe them a lot.”
7. “It’s better to look at the sky than live there. Such an empty place; so vague. Just a country where the thunder goes and things disappear.”
6. “You can always tell what kind of a person a man thinks you are by the earrings he gives you. I must say — the mind reels”
5. “She’s a phony. But she’s a real phony. You know why? Because she honestly believes all this phony junk that she believes.”
4. “You must not give your heart to a wild thing. The more you do, the stronger they get, until they’re strong enough to run into the woods or fly into a tree. And then to a higher tree.”
3. “There are certain shades of limelight that can wreck a girl’s complexion.”
2. “No matter where you run, you just end up running into yourself.”
AND MY #1 FAVORITE QUOTE IS:
- “I’m like cat here, a no-name slob. We belong to nobody, and nobody belongs to us. We don’t even belong to each other.”
HOWEVER MY FAVORITE PART ABOUT THE MOVIE IS:
Each time I watch it I discover something new about the movie
When I saw it for the first time, I was watching it for Fashion in Audrey’s style. But I discovered that it’s such a beautiful love story. A story that is punctuated by a kiss in the rain with a cat between them. That was an ultimate ‘Awwwwie’ moment for me.
In my second time, I realized that this movie is not just about style & love. It’s such a beautiful sonnet about sex & loneliness.
After my third watch, I remember calling my friend & exclaiming on phone, “Hey, did you know that Audrey Hepburn is a hooker in Tiffany’s?” Now it seems so obvious, but that time so not. After all, it was a Hepburn film & not a Marilyn movie. Moreover, they kept it so low key with ‘powder room’ & stuff, that yes it took me three viewings to figure that one out.
But, the most important discovery about the movie was made, when I watched it today. It’s not a discovery rather a question is raised today. That which one of the two was right- Holy or Paul? Which is the right path to happiness?
“People do fall in love with each, people do belong to each other, because that’s the only chance anybody’s got for real happiness.”
Isn’t that’s what every fairytalish ‘happily ever after’ all about? Finding your true love & sealing it with a kiss.
On the other hand, Holy calls herself wild thing. She says:
“We belong to nobody & nobody belongs to us. People don’t belong to people. ”
And, isn’t that what Buddhism says happiness is all about? According to Buddhism:
The only person that we belong to is ourself. Our soul is sent here for a journey. That journey is our own. We meet people, we may even travel with them, but we all have an individual & unique destination. It’s when we try to intertwine our journey with someone else’s , it’s the genesis of the sorrow.
While the movie has a conventional kiss & end stand on this the book remains ambiguous.
So what is the choice for us here, for happiness?
To embark in our journey belonging only to ourselves? Or, spend our lives belonging to that someone we love?